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Robert Pearson

  Accessible Media


Inside CSUN 2013: Highlights of my Third Outing at the Technology Conference

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At the 28th CSUN Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference that was underway in San Diego between February 27 and March 2, 2013, Robert Pearson spoke about AMI’s initiative to develop Described Video Best Practices.

The 2013 edition of CSUN Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference – was bigger and better, packed with hundreds of concurrent sessions for attendees across different time slots. With participants representing many countries and jurisdictions from around the world, CSUN 2013 once again delivered on being the most essential accessibility conference in the world. Not only was there the potential for familiarising ourselves with new technologies, policy mandates and best practices, there was also the networking side to the event, which is equally valuable for professionals in the field.

Many of the events and services within the conference were courtesy the major sponsors, including Adobe, Microsoft, Oracle, Freedom Scientific, IBM, Deque and others, who have a significant interest and investment in accessibility. The satellite ballrooms facilitated the showcase of multiple presentations as well as being an intimate space for socializing and networking; some of the hubs of activity were concentrated in these spaces throughout the conference. Simply Accessible offered charging stations and a 'Charlie Brown' style kiosk for diagnosing inaccessible websites. SSB Bart Group held their reception atop the Hyatt, while Deque hosted their "Amazing" evening, and Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) welcomed fellow Canadian attendees and others, all in one evening and in the same time slot.

Participants networking at CSUN 2013One of the highlights at CUSN 2013 was the session hosted and driven by ATIA, which revolved around the need for Accessibility Professional Certification. Initiated in the days before the 27th annual conference last year, ATIA is leading this initiative and bringing on board major sponsors to ensure its success. It is felt that the industry of accessibility professionals has matured enough to allow for the creation of this certification and to ensure that industry continues to develop in a coordinated fashion into the future. While there are polarizing opinions around this concept, congruency may be found if all members of the industry are aware of what is taking place as not everyone is in regular communication with the ATIA. For further information on this initiative, please mail to be added to the distribution list.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) presented an update on our initiative to develop Described Video Best Practices on the Friday morning. Eight months into a year-long mandate, the artistic and technical guidelines of these best practices have been outlined with only minor enhancements yet to be developed. One of discussions brought forward through this committee, representing 14 organizations including blind/low vision advocacy organizations, private for-profit description houses, broadcasters and producers, is the idea of multi-level description. These industry-adopted best practices will work to standardize the delivery of the first level of described video throughout the Canadian broadcasting industry. At the secondary and tertiary levels though, that for which room may not exist in the broadcast description track would be handled at a separate location and within a different process.

Once finalized, all committee members will be signatories to these guidelines in an effort to ensure the consistency of the delivery of video description across Canada.

To obtain a copy of the slides from our presentation, as well as several other CSUN presentations, we encourage you to visit The 2013 CSUN Great Big List. To watch video coverage of CSUN 2013, we encourage you to visit 


Related Resources

News: Building Research Capacity in Wireless Accessibility and Usability - WirelessRERC | Read news.

Blog: Digital Authoring for Accessibility of Media Formats by Robert Pearson | Read blog.

Event: ITU's Fifth World Telecommunication /ICT Policy Forum - May 14-16, 2013 | Geneva, Switzerland | Event details.

Publication: Making Television Accessible - G3ict - ITU Report | Download Free PDF.